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Convention Coverage--Even Kristol Sounds Worried

Reported by Judy - July 29, 2004 -

The Fox News pundit roundtable and other convention coverage after John Edwards' speech tonight (July 28) gave the impression that even Republicans were impressed by his performance -- and a little worried. A few interviews even offered new information to viewers who stuck it out for the roll call of the states to see John Kerry officially nominated.

Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard came off as concerned about the Bush camp's chances in November after hearing the polished and down-to-earth speech that John Edwards gave. Kristol (10:59 p.m. EDT) called it the "most hawkish speech" given by a candidate at a Democratic convention since John Kennedy in 1960, indicating that Kerry and Edwards are not going to let themselves be cast as weak on defense. Kristol made a feeble attempt to discredit Edwards' tough-on-terror talk by claiming that the delegates were "not very interested in the foreign affairs part of the speech" and that Edwards "kind of raced through it" (11:04 p.m. EDT). Referring to the Bush camp, Kristol said, "I think they're worried about the election."

Mort Kondracke tried to be more critical. Although he called the speech "effective" and "95 percent positivie," Kondracke claimed that Edwards' theme of two Americas was "a falsehood" because two-thirds of Americans own their own homes. Kondracke also got in a dig at Kerry, saying John Edwards "made the case for John Kerry better than he can make it himself." We'll see about that. Overall, though, the pundits could only pick nits. Fox's Chris Wallace even had a decent interview with Tad Devine, Kerry campaign adviser, who said Kerry is going to challenge Bush on national security, which is supposedly Bush's strong suit.

Susan Estrich was actually effective in her liberal role, correcting the others who were calling it a 50-50 race by noting that Kerry averages a 2-3 point lead in the polls.

Martha MacCallum interviewed a Tennessee delegate who had more poll tidbits. The delegate said the Democratic ticket has had a 20-point swing in that state in the last three weeks. "At the very least, we are a toss-up state" now, she said. The Democrats lost Tennessee four years ago.

And Major Garrett (12:05 a.m. EDT) reported from the floor that Edwards people had told him Edwards brought up the National Guard spouse for a reason -- Democratic polling has detected "anxiety among military families" and Democrats think they can grab some of those votes from Bush.

A great speech, some interesting poll talk -- all in all, the night went so well not even Fox News could wreck it.